ISET

Just like every Georgian family, ISET Policy Institute is preparing for the New Year, and we keep to our traditions and have cooked up a New Year Supra Index for our readers. The Index shows the cost of a standard festive supra meal for a family of five to six people in every Georgian region. The traditional dishes included in our calculations are: mtsvadi, satsivi (chicken in walnut sauce), khachapuri, trout, tabaka (fried) chicken, olivie salad, pkhali, cucumber&tomato salad, and for the desert, fruit and gozinaki (caramelized walnuts fried in honey).

The Khachapuri Index continued its upward trend in November 2019, with the average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian Khachapuri reaching 4.1 GEL. This is 6.1% higher month-on-month (compared to October 2019), and 12.6% higher year-on-year (compared to November 2018).

The increasing price trend was not surprising as, in general, an increase at this time of the year is driven by a seasonal decline in the supply of fresh milk and excess demand before the fasting period. This also leads to corresponding increases in cheese and other milk product prices. However, the yearly price increase is driven largely by the deprecation of the Georgian lari against the US dollar. Prices went up YoY for all locally produced goods (eggs and cheese), for imported goods (yeast and butter), and for those that use imported intermediary inputs in production (flour and milk powder).

The Khachapuri Index reached its historical maximum in October 2019.

The Index continued its upward trend which started in May 2019 and took a big leap in October 2019. The average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri reached 3.90 GEL, which is 6.6% higher month-on-month (compared to September 2019) and 8.6% higher year-on-year (compared to October 2018). All ingredients contributed to y/y Khachapuri Index inflation. The price of cheese was up by 12.5%, wheat by 6.6%, butter, eggs, and milk by 3.4%, and yeast by 0.1%. Moreover, in general, the increasing trend at this time of year is driven by seasonal decline in the supply of fresh milk which drives the Khachapuri Index price up.

In September 2019, the average cost of cooking one standard Imeretian khachapuri reached 3.64 GEL, which is 3.0% higher month-on-month (compared to August 2019), and 2.3% higher year-on-year (compared to September 2018). The price of khachapuri increased in all four major cities of Georgia: Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, and Telavi.

Two factors together pushed the Khachapuri Index upwards in September. On the one hand, the Index is up due to a seasonal decline in the supply of raw milk and therefore cheese — the main (and most expensive) ingredient in khachapuri. On the other hand, due to the depreciation of the Georgian currency against the USD over the recent months, the price of imported milk powder (used as a substitute for fresh milk) increased, which pushed the price of cheese up.

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